LAHORE - The prices of vegetables, fruit, poultry, dairy products, pulses and many other kitchen items have been jacked up in open markets of the provincial capital, as the government machinery is focusing only Ramazan bazaars where several edibles are available at reasonable rates but in limited quantity.

The government whole high-ups including provincial departments of agriculture, livestock, labour, fisheries etc and special price magistrates were busy Ramazan Bazaars, taking no action against surging trend and artificial price hike of edibles, mainly vegetables and fruits in rest of the markets and bazaars of the city.

Meanwhile, Provincial Minister for Food & Chairman Cabinet Price Control Committee, Bilal Yasin, during his surprise visit to Ramazan bazaar Islampura, said that Ramazan package of Punjab government is yielding useful results. He said that quality and cheap edible items are being provided to the people at control rate in Ramazan bazaars and district administration has been bound that supply of food items should be continued in Ramazan bazaars.

But consumers, in rest of the markets, said that with the advent of the holy month of Ramazan, the rates of daily use items have sky-rocketed while the profiteers and hoarders seem to be looking to gain maximum benefits from people's helplessness.

They said the vendors, hand-push cart owners and shopkeepers are taking full advantage of the negligence of the authorities concerned and looting poor masses with both hands by charging the prices as per their own sweet will. According to survey, conducted by The Nation on Sunday in several markets and bazaars, the prices of vegetables, fruit, pulses, sugar, flour, cold drinks, poultry and spices shot up by 10-30 per cent.

Before Ramazan, gram pulse was available at Rs85 per kg which rose to Rs110 per kg with the advent of the holy month. Now gram pulse rate hovers between Rs100 and Rs110 per kg in various areas but the government official rate is Rs62 per kg.

Though the traders have expedited pulses imports in view of demand and supply gap but in spite of that Moong pulse has become costlier and is being sold at Rs170 per kg. Its official rate is Rs142. The official rate of masoor is Rs112, but retailers are charging Rs145 per kg. Mash is selling for Rs200 per kg but its official rate is Rs145.

The official rate of kernal basmati rice is Rs122 per kg but retailers are demanding over Rs143. The official rates of various varieties of rice vary and there is a difference of Rs20 to 30 in their prices.

Sugar price now ranges between Rs64-66 per kg as compared to Rs60 per kg before Ramazan. The current official rate of sugar is Rs62 per kg. Kabuli channa white and black are priced at Rs100 and Rs120 per kg as compared to their control rate of Rs75 and Rs55 per kg, respectively. Last month these items were available below Rs100 per kg in retail.

The shopkeepers are also charging Rs 4 extra on per kg sugar. Similarly, the price of chicken has been risen to Rs250 per kg.

Similarly, ginger is being sold at Rs350 per kg; red powder chilly at Rs 280 per kg; garlic at Rs240 per kg; potatoes rate up from Rs15 to Rs25 per kg; onion from Rs45 to 55 per kg; lemon at Rs 250 per kg; apple at Rs 250 per kg; banana at Rs100 per dozen; mangoes from Rs80 to 140 per kg while green chilies are being sold at Rs 300 per kg.